This flat pie is the one that resembles most the Santiago de Compostela’s flat pies. When I was a student there, I would stop in one of the bakeries in the old part of town on my way to class, and would buy a portion of these delicious flat pies. Each bite was like a piece of heaven… and I can assure you that not even the smallest piece of pie ever made it home.
In Santiago, you typically get a free tapa when you order a beer or a wine. There is nothing new about this; it is also commonly seen in other Spanish cities. But what is incredible about Santiago is that you also get a free sweet tapa when you order a coffee, you will get a roll, a piece of cake or a piece of flat pie. When you spend some time in Santiago, you create your own routes that incorporate all your favorite places; you will have a sweet rote, and a savory one, and you will recommend these to everyone.
In my opinion, this flat pie tastes better freshly made, while it is still a little hot and you can smell the scent of the recently baked apple. It is an exquisite and delicate dish, and there will not be any leftovers. It tastes similar to an apple strudle but softer, and with a less flaky crust.
Directions to prepare the apples and the flat pie:
The best apples for this recipe are either russet or golden delicious. I haven’t used these varieties since the last time we were visiting my family in Galicia, my father gave me a bunch of different variety small and slightly sour apples and pears that grow in our back yard. I recommend you use one or two pears; they give the filling a different and pleasant flavor.
- Peel and core the apples and pears and cut them into medium size pieces or slices of about ½ of an inch thick.
- Place the fruit in a bowl or container suitable for microwave. Next add 2 tablespoons of sugar, the cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and black pepper (these last 3 spices will add a very intense flavor to the fruit). Also add the vanilla extract, and mix the ingredients by tossing everything together with your hands. Even before you bake it, it will already smell amazing.
- Cover the container, but leave an opening for the steam to come out, and microwave on high power for about 10 minutes. After that, the fruit will be soft, with the amazing aroma from the spices. It will also release a syrup that you will use later (set 2 tablespoons aside). Allow it to cool and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 430°.
- Take the puff pastry dough out of the fridge (it must be very cold). You can make it if you like; I didn’t have time, so I have used the supermarket puff pastry which is already rolled out (2 sheets).
- Place one sheet of puff pastry on the oven tray (cover the tray first in baking parchment paper if you prefer.) Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork so the pastry doesn’t rise (if you don’t do this, you will get unwanted bubbles in the dough.)
- Pour the fruit mixture on top of the puff pastry. Press down with a spoon and move the fruit around so it covers the entire puff pastry except the corners. Grate a little lemon and orange zest over the fruit compote.
- Place the second puff pastry sheet on top, and seal the borders by pressing down with your finger. Prick the puff pastry dough with a fork. Crack and beat the egg. Add the milk and a few tablespoons of the syrup previously saved, and continue beating. Brush this egg mixture on top of the dough. Sprinkle the rest of the sugar over the dough, so you get a thin crust when it comes out of the oven.
- Reduce the temperature of the oven to 400°. Place the flat pie in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the surface is golden. If it starts to burn reduce the temperature, or cover the pie with aluminum foil.
- Remove from the oven and let it rest for a little bit. Serve with vanilla ice cream or custard. This dish is spectacular, especially because of the scent released by the apple. Let me know how it goes.
What is baking parchment paper?
Parchment paper is a very useful cooking utensil. You can use it both for cooking and to preserve food. It is a type of paper treated chemically so it can stand very high temperatures (it can take up to 430°). It is also resistant to humidity, and impermeable to grease. You can boil it without a risk of it dissolving. Where can you find it? You can find it in any supermarket, specialized store, or in many convenience stores. It is a very handy product to have, and it will save you from making a mess when you want to pull certain cakes out of their trays.
Puff pastry: things you need to know when you are using it and baking it:
- To bake puff pastry the oven always needs to be preheated. If you don’t do this, the butter in the dough will melt, and the pastry will not puff up.
- Before you bake the puff pastry, you will need to prick it all over with a fork. Make sure you don’t open the oven while the pastry is cooking, the changes in temperature might cause the pastry to deflate.
- Make sure the puff pastry is cold when you roll it or spread it out. Leave it in the fridge until you are ready to use it. I have even left the top sheet of pastry in the fridge until I was finished with the bottom sheet ready to use the top.
- Don’t knead the puff pastry dough too much, you want to avoid it hardening or cracking which may cause a wrong texture once it is cooked.
- The perfect temperature to bake puff pastry at is between 400° and 440°. Anything below 400° will not achieve the desired outcome, and anything above 440° will burn it.